Zookeepers Caring for Tiny Vampires Before Their Big Move


The Animal Facts Editorial Team


June 20, 2023 8:53 pm


ZSL Whipsnade Zoo, London, The United Kingdom

Zookeepers at ZSL Whipsnade Zoo are caring for four Chinese water deer fawns, also known as vampire deer. Their nickname comes from the small set of fang-like teeth found on the adults. Keepers are helping to protect the population of this vulnerable species ahead of their move to ZSL London Zoo in the near future.

Keeper Gracie Gee said the small spotted fawns - which have giant ‘teddy bear’ ears to help them better hear approaching threats in the wild - have been thriving in the expert team’s care and will soon move between ZSL conservation zoos to their new home at London Zoo.  

“We’ve been giving the little ones, who are all female, at least three feeds a day and they’ve already doubled in size since their births in early June.”  

Gracie added: “Even at their present weight of 800g large birds could still easily scoop them up, so we are hand-rearing the fawns in a sheltered, protected space at the Zoo. In a few weeks' time they will be moving to our sister site, London Zoo where they will be cared for by their dedicated team. We’ll be sad to see them go but we know they’ll be in the best hands.” 

After period of time to settle in at their new home the fawns will be ready to meet visitors. ZSL's members will be given an opportunity to name the foals as part of an online vote to recognize their support of the conservation charity.

The herd of Chinese water dragon have been revealed as vital to the conservation of this species through a recent study. They descend from an ancestral line which is now extinct in mainland China.

“It’s important that we care for a strong and genetically diverse population of this important descendent line at both our conservation zoos; if Chinese water deer populations in China continue to decline, London and Whipsnade’s herds could be strong contenders for possible reintroduction to help protect the species.”  

Chinese Water Deer Fawn ZSL London Zoo

Image: © ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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Our Favourite Chinese Water Dragon Fact!

While deer are more commonly thought to fight for dominance using their antlers they primarily achieve this through parallel walks alongside one another. It is only if they can not settle their dispute with this method that they progress to a physical fight.

Image: © ZSL Whipsnade Zoo

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